The Simple Argument that Changed the World View of Physics

Contact Organiser18:30 – 19:30 14 Feb 2018

Lecture Theatre G05, Western Gateway Building, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

The Simple Argument that Changed the World View of Physics

Professor Reinhard F. Werner (Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany)

Abstract:

It is very rare that a question

touching on our world view can be decided experimentally.

One such case, central to quantum mechanics, is the

argument of Einstein, Podolski and Rosen from 1935, as

sharpened by John Bell in the 1960s. In this talk I will

present an elementary version of this argument, which

shows that describing quantum systems in terms of their

‘properties’ or by a list of ‘true’ statements pertaining to

them is bound to fail. So it seems that quantum particles

defy the rules of classical logic as laid out by George

Boole. I will discuss an attempt by John von Neumann, the

creator of the formalism of quantum mechanics, to identify

a ‘quantum logic’ replacing Boole's rules. One might have

hoped that this logic would play the same role for the

programming of quantum computers as Boole's logic

undoubtedly did for classical computers. However,

quantum logic turned out to be quite useless for this

purpose. This is related to the observation that quantum

logic never changed the Laws of Thought (title of a book

by Boole). What was needed instead was a formalism for

actions on quantum systems, analogous to gates in a

computer. I will give examples for quantum gates and

highlight some typical features.

Reinhard F. Werner is a Professor at

the Institute of Theoretical Physics at the Leibniz Universität

Hannover (Germany). He is well known for his research on

the conceptual and mathematical foundations of quantum

theory. Professor Werner made outstanding contributions to

quantum information theory, as well as quantum statistical

mechanics and the theory of time in quantum mechanics.

Aside of his many ground-breaking results in mathematical

physics, his leading role in the scientific community of

quantum information is demonstrated by being a contributing

author of the European road map for research in the field of

Quantum Information Sciences and Technology which is

identified as a key technology of the 21st century.

Organised by: IOP Ireland/UCC

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